For the past few years, there’s been a lot of discussion on work-life balance. The pandemic pushed the issue further. The impact of ‘Great Resignation’ became the icing on this cake. Amid all this, there is a great need to discuss a contract that has a good balance for all the parties concerned.
Work-life balance chaos
Shibu Shivanandan, Founder and Managing Director, PivotRoots, thinks the work-life balance chaos leads to ‘Great Resignation’. “There are increased responsibilities at work and longer hours with WFH. It has blurred the lines between work and non-work hours, and team members taking a lot of time dealing with personal emergencies.”
He further feels the main reason behind the Great Resignation can be huge competition between employees. “This is reflected in higher job vacancies with limited talent across the industry. It further leads to job insecurity, lack of reorganisation by the employer, pay cuts, layoffs, and poor response to Covid-19.”
Owing to this competition, many companies have shifted their notice period from one or two months to three months to retain their workforce. However, this has led to more problems and has become a trigger of sorts for people to resign.
For Smita Shetty Kapoor, CEO and Co-Founder at KelpHR, the factors would be prioritisation and setting boundaries by the individual and the organisation. “Others include ineffective corporate policies and sometimes being unable to delegate leading to micromanaging.”
There is a growing need to constantly evolve employee retention policies that look at the needs of the organisation and the employees. “Despite the resounding evidence that working long hours can harm employees and employers, the professional struggle to overcome one’s assumptions is real. Many employees experience a personal, professional, and monetary need to achieve a synchronised balance. They forget that work-life balance is a constant cycle,” reveals Vinit Khandare, CEO and Founder, MyFundBazaar.
“The global standard of the work hours per week is 40 to 45 hours. India has the highest ranging from 60 to 72 hours. Consequently, employees suffer from exhaustion and burnout, have relationship issues at home, and cannot look after their well-being. It is leading many to opt for careers and lifestyle that has a better balance between work and personal life,” says Amit Bose, Co-founder, Emotionally.in.
The emotional impact is vital as employees find work interfering with their personal life. This is pushing people to opt for careers that help them strike work-life balance efficiently.
Contracts in writing and psychological contracts can play an important role in employee retention, says Smita. “Over the years, companies have tried to create a contract which they thought would deter employees from leaving. But they quickly realised that no contract binds any employee and can be challenged in the court of law.”
It helps to pursue a psychological contract in which the employee and organisation have invested in. It results in a good working relationship. Vinit feels that with traditional work operations getting replaced with automation and digitalisation, contracts can help understand the fundamental meaning of the scope of work and the contract between employer and employee.
The way forward
Bose favours good work hours and additional payment for working more hours. “Employees should be able to say NO to additional hours without any harm to job and career. There needs to be provision for mental health support to help employees deal with stress and burnout.”
Shivanandan wants contracts or policies to be flexible and amendments done whenever required. “The salary structure also matters, wherein most companies deduct gratuity from the employee CTC. But as per government rules, you can avail gratuity only once you complete five years with a company. Hence, showing this in the CTC is not the right procedure.”
With employment laws remaining the same for years, the only addition to contracts has been incentives and compensation packages offered. “Making contracts attractive should be looked into. That’s the first impression that a prospective employee has of the organisation, post-interview and confirmation. Efforts must be made to create a clear understanding wherein the employees and employer agree. A special clause covering work-life balance should be incorporated,” Smita concludes.